Close to 300 artists will exhibit at the 11th Annual Chicago Art Open. The artists showing October 4–19 at the Merchandise Mart have only one thing in common—they create in Chicago, making the Art Open as diverse as the city. Three guest curators have honored twenty-one of the entries as Curators’ Choice. Among them is Carey Primeau, who photographs urban dwellings and exhibits in the emerging artist category. Columbia College student Matthew Austin, exhibiting in the student category, shows action and still portraits dealing with the transition into responsibilities of adult life. Fred Kingelhofer, in the professional artist division, is inspired by water and the human form to create sculptures from varying mediums, most commonly wood.
A fourth category debuts this year, the Nominated Arts Organizations Division, featuring artists to represent five art organizations. For example, the Southside Community Arts Center will use the elegant black-and-white photographs of Tony Smith to represent itself. Additional highlights of the Art Open include honoring collector Lew Manilow for his involvement in the arts including co-founding Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Also at the benefit, Friday October 3, Cleveland Dan will perform a “live painting.” Throughout the month additional activities and events will take place at the Art Open such as panel discussions, curator led tours and a family craft day. The Art Open acts as an introduction to some of the city’s under-represented artists, and in a way, prefigures the art fair (same location, six months later).
The Chicago Artists’ Coalition has been publishing the monthly Chicago Artists’ News, a newsletter with art news and the like, for several years. This month they are launching their second publication, Prompt, an art journal. The biannual publication boasts a wide variety of stories that should interest not only the arts community but also—hopefully—the general public.
The first issue, themed Practical Revolutions, takes on topics of changing the world with articles, interviews and DIY how-to guides. Part of a conversation between two speakers, entitled “Defining the Black Artist Today,” was unexpected but delightfully refreshing and informative; hopefully this dual author format will be revisited in the future.
Green architecture is the poignant topic of Chicago architect Howard Alan’s contribution to the journal, drawing examples from the Lincoln Park neighborhood and explaining the definition of true sustainability. This edition includes a historical manifesto on art that is remarkably timely and something one would never have read or perhaps even heard about if not for this journal.
The photographs of artwork could certainly be expanded—this is after all an art journal—and the two-page spread of quotes is a bit of a miss. Contrary to expectations of such artist journals, Prompt is not stuffy or pompous. Each article actually explains the topic in an informative manner and most of the pieces relate specifically to Chicago. Prompt is a welcome addition to the city’s growing landscape of art-critical publications. (Rachel Turney)
The Chicago Art Open shows at the Merchandise Mart, October 3-19. Annual subscriptions to Prompt start at $30 for one year, with a reduced rate for CAC members.